Going quackers — Duck & Waffle
As a self-respecting London foodie I have long been meaning to ascend to the lofty heights of the 40th floor of Heron Tower and indulge in some ducky and/or waffley goodness.
Those dreams finally came true last weekend, and it was a truly memorable experience.
The environment alone is unsurprisingly impressive. With views of the London skyline in all directions, an open kitchen and immaculate wait staff it is easy to forgive how intimate the whole setting is — can’t blame them for trying to squeeze as many people into this prime real estate as possible.
But whilst the ambiance is undoubtedly a nice bonus, what you’re really there for is the food. And by golly you aren’t disappointed.
We kicked things off with some “snacks” to share in the form of the bacon-wrapped dates and bbq-spiced crispy pig ears.
The former were absolutely gorgeous medjool dates wrapped in crispy bacon and served up with some mustard. I can’t praise these things enough. Dates are great, bacon is great and the incredibly unorthodox marriage of the two manages to be greater than the sum of its parts!
The pig ears were exactly as it said on the tin, or in this case the paper bag that they came in. Lovely and crispy, nicely seasoned and reasonably plentiful.
As hinted at by the very name of the place, Duck & Waffle seems to delight in bringing foods together that usually don’t collide in orthodox culinary circles. This is further embodied by the ‘spicy ox cheek doughnut’.
Essentially one big — and I mean massive — doughnut, but stuffed with glorious meat instead of jam or insufferable fake chocolate. And swimming in apricot jam and coated in smoked paprika sugar, because why not?
I’d seen this one on Instagram and knew I had to try it, and yet again this is a case of “you can’t have too much of good things” — doughnut + meat = victory. The combination of flavours and textures worked incredibly well.
And did I mention how huge it is?
Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to Duck & Waffle without sampling the eponymous dish. Can the winning streak of odd edible combinations continue? In short: yes.
I must admit to only having half (and none of the egg sadly) as we were sharing, but that was more than enough to judge this as a winner. I’m a big fan of duck in general and this leg was cooked to perfection. The waffle mainly served as a warm and fluffy base, but adding the divine mustard maple syrup elevated the pairing to a whole new level.
Don’t pass up on a chance to try this; it’s famous for a reason.
As if we weren’t already full to brimming, out came the whole roast chicken and spring vegetable salad. Seriously.
At this point I was being implored to pull my weight (or rather add to it) and strive to polish this off as effectively a solo effort. I’d begrudge my company if it wasn’t so damned tasty.
I’ve had some good roast chicken in my time, but this is easily vying for the top spot. Cooked with Ratte potatoes, wild mushrooms and truffle, the meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender and almost buttery. I wish I could have appreciated it more on an emptier stomach!
It’s not often that salad gets a shout-out on this blog (mostly because I just don’t order it) but I’m willing to make an exception in this case.
This was a genuinely delicious and moreish platter. The freshness and quality of the ingredients was immediately evident, and well accentuated by the flavourful ranch dressing.
But the highlight for me, perhaps unsurprisingly, had to be the smoked mozzarella. Each ball was almost egg-like; a soft near-raw centre encased by a firm outer layer.
Tradition dictates I have to talk value at this point. Whilst this is obviously a classy establishment, and by no means a “cheap eat”, I was actually pretty content with how things were priced. With the exception of the £35 chicken and the £17 duck & waffle (and the slightly extortionate £3.50 per date) the food was definitely worth the money.
Value is about quality against price, not just about getting as much for as little as possible, so that’s why I won’t rail against Duck & Waffle here — the food was just that good. And naturally you’re paying for the environment as well, though there was room for improvement in the service which was slow and marred by mistakes.
All-in-all I would heartily recommend Duck & Waffle to anyone, assuming they weren’t on a shoestring budget. Perhaps in that case the recently opened Duck & Waffle Local might be worth a gander; I’ve been meaning to tuck in there since launch day!
We visited Duck & Waffle on 01/07/2017. Prices of the food described above as follows: bacon wrapped dates £3.50 each, bag of pig ears £5, ox cheek doughnut £12, duck & waffle £17, whole roast chicken £35 and large salad £14, plus 12.5% service.